Frequently Asked Questions about Curaçao

As dive travelers, we all have questions about the diving destination we would like to visit. Understanding this, here at Dive Curaçao we have built (and are continuing to build) a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) database of the common or frequently asked questions to provide you answers as a basis for information-gathering.

Our hope is that this will allow you to get a more complete understanding about our beautiful Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao and why you should choose to Dive Curaçao.

“We live and dive year round in Curacao, so we are confident – even if we do not have an immediate answer – we probably know someone who can provide us the information you are looking for.”

Bryan Horne, Dive Curaçao

If you have a specific question or if you cannot find enough (practical) information about a topic, please contact us so we can find you the answer!

Curaçao FAQ Table of Contents

About Curaçao

Curaçao is situated, between Aruba and Bonaire, roughly 43 miles (70km) off the North Coast of Venezuela . It is not only southern Caribbean diamond but it is a reward to any who are willing to make the trek to the heart of the Dutch Caribbean.

Since October 10, 2010, Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Together with Aruba and Bonaire, it constitutes the “ABC” islands, or Leeward Antilles. However they are also closely tied to Saba, Sint Eustatius (Statia) and St. Maarten.

Located just 12° north of the Equator, Curaçao has a warm, sunny climate year round. The average temperature is about 27°C (81°F). Cooling trade winds blow constantly from the east, strongest in the spring months.

How do I get to Curaçao?

You can travel to Curaçao by air with direct flights from North America (Toronto, Montreal, Newwark, JFK, Charlotte and Miami), Central America (Panama), South America, the Caribbean, and Europe (Schiphol and Frankfurt) or by sea on a cruise or yacht.

Before arriving on the island, be sure to fill out your Digital Immigration (DI) Card and know what you can bring with you through customs.

What is the best time of year to visit?

Because the weather is rarely an issue, many people plan their vacation in Curaçao around what there is to do on the island. CLICK HERE for a full schedule of Curaçao Events and Festivals.

The Curaçao Carnival period (February and March) is always immensely popular with all kinds of different parties and of course the many parades during the last 10 days of Carnival.

In April we have events like the Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam and King’s Day, and there’s always something to do during the summer holidays.

In late August through early September, the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival is a great festival to visit.

December to early January is also a special time to be in Curaçao, with a bevy of parties and time-honored events like the pagaras and fireworks shows during the last week of the year, New Year’s Eve parties, the Unox New Year’s Splash, and of course Fuik Day.

Stream2Sea Curaçao - Reef Safe and Biodegradable Personal Care Products
Dive Travel Curacao now offers you 10% OFF all Stream2Sea products so you can protect yourself against the raw elements and protect the coral reef against toxic ingredients.

What is the average air temperature?

Curaçao, located at 12° north of the Equator, has a warm, sunny climate year-round. The average temperature is about 27°C (81°F) with noon temperatures generally over 30°C (86°F). Trade winds blow constantly from the east, providing a welcome cooling effect.

International weather websites commonly show a chance of rain in Curaçao, due to clouds being directly over the island, but much of this rain (average yearly rainfall is 22cm) never reaches the ground.

When is Hurricane season?

Curaçao, as a part of the Leeward Antilles, is geographically located outside the Hurricane Belt. As on other islands, strong winds may pass, but rarely pose a threat. Of course, even though Curaçao is outside the hurricane belt, one can never guarantee perfect weather.

The Caribbean Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30. For Curaçao this generally means that there is less wind than normal during this period, which makes it feel warmer than during the rest of the year.

Why should you rent a vehicle?

While sometimes your hotel / resort or its neighbors may offer sufficient options for your vacation (see your hotel detail page on this site for facilities and distances), if you plan to really get around and explore the Island, renting a car at one of the many car rental agencies is the best option.

This allows you to travel freely, frequently, and on your own schedule so you won’t miss out on anything Curaçao has to offer. Most of Curaçao is accessible within a 30-45 minute drive, regardless of where you start. This may vary in peak traffic hours.

CLICK HERE for more information about car and truck rentals in Curaçao.

Renting a car or a truck in Curaçao is a must if you want the freedom to explore the island and discover, on your own terms, the amazing hidden gems.

What currency is used?

The currency used in Curaçao is the Antillean Guilder (ANG), also called the Florin. The Antillean Guilder’s exchange rate is fixed to the US Dollar at a price of 1 USD = 1.80 ANG. When exchanging money at a bank the exchange rate is 1.78 or 1.82 ANG, depending on if you’re buying or selling.

You can use US Dollars everywhere in Curaçao. In stores and restaurants and such the exchange rate used is usually 1 USD = 1.75 ANG for ease of calculation.

Where are the banking machines?

In search for a Banking or ATM machine near your accommodation? It couldn’t be easier: Click here, type in your location and find the nearest Curaçao ATM in seconds.

Curaçao has several banks and ATMs. Currency — U.S. dollars and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. The official currency, the Netherlands Antillean florin (NAf), also called a guilder, is divided into 100 NA (Netherlands Antillean) cents.

ATM’s in Curaçao (recognizable by the “Bankomatiko” sign) accept major credit cards as well as debit cards. For the latter they use the Maestro, Cirrus, and Cashnet systems; if you plan to use your debit card, make sure your card has at least one of their symbols on it. You can withdraw either US Dollars or Antillean Guilders from ATMs in Curaçao.

If you plan to use your credit or debit card during your stay, be sure to inform your bank that you’ll be using your card abroad, including the dates you’ll be traveling.

What major credit cards and debit cards are accepted?

All major credit cards are accepted in most businesses in Curacao with the exception of gas stations. Gas stations all over Curacao only accept cash and mostly require a minimum purchase of at least $20.

ATM’s in Curaçao (recognizable by the “Bankomatiko” sign) accept major credit cards as well as debit cards. For the latter they use the Maestro, Cirrus, and Cashnet systems; if you plan to use your debit card, make sure your card has at least one of their symbols on it. You can withdraw either US Dollars or Antillean Guilders from ATMs in Curaçao.

If you plan to use your credit or debit card during your stay, be sure to inform your bank that you’ll be using your card abroad, including the dates you’ll be traveling.

What is the recommended tipping practice?

Tipping is highly appreciated at all times. Individual practice is left to your own discretion however it is recommended because it shows your appreciation for the hospitality and services provided.

It is recommended that you tip at least 10% of your fare to Taxi drivers and 1 ANG per bag to Porters.

For all other services including dive staff and waiters, it is recommended that you tip between 10% and 20% of your diving package.

What is the latest information about COVID-19

The Government of Curaçao adjusts the measures and guidelines to make sure your stay here is as comfortable as possible, while keeping our island safe for our visitors and our local community.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is dynamic situation that is on all of our minds and it is frequently changing without notice. But, the health and safety of you, your family, and your friends is of paramount concern.

With that in mind, please CLICK HERE for the latest developments regarding travel and tourism on Curaçao.

What are the Things to Do in Curaçao?

Scuba Diving in Curaçao is of course the number one thing to do but there are so many more of things to do in Curaçao and no right way to experience any of them. We encourage all dive travelers to create their own experiences by exploring our beautiful Dutch Caribbean island while embracing our authentic, unforgettable spirit.

Curaçao Dive Travel Guide | Dive Travel Curaçao
The Curaçao Dive Travel Guide contains essential dive vacation tips and local advice that will help plan your Caribbean diving vacation

Where are the best beaches in Curaçao?

Curaçao is an absolute Beach Hoppers paradise in the Caribbean! So if you looking for the best beaches, to curl your toes in to the sand, then dive into the Curaçao Beaches Guide and Interactive Map.

What are the best snorkeling sites in Curaçao?

Snorkeling in Curaçao is a dream for anyone who loves the combination of amazing beaches and the mind blowing diversity that exists along fringing coral reefs. The beaches in Curaçao are absolutely ideal launching points for snorkeling because, within a few fin kicks, they provide easy access to the near by reefs that are teaming with colorful life. Learn more with the Curaçao Snorkeling Guide and Interactive Map.

Where can you freedive in Curaçao?

Have you ever considered diving into deep waters of Curaçao on one breath and without scuba diving gear? Well this type of diving is referred to as ‘freediving’ and there is some amazing opportunities in Curaçao!

CLICK HERE to learn more.

Where is there good hiking and land based nature sightseeing?

If you are interested in nature and hiking or exploring, then we highly recommend that you visit the National Parks in Curaçao. Carmabi manages the vast preserves known as Christoffel National Park, Shete Boka National Park and the Curaçao Rif Mangrove Park. They continually strive to manage and preserve nature on our beautiful island plus offer guided tours for nature lovers, birders, and more. 

What are the island events and festivals?

There is a year long schedule of incredible island Events and Festivals, including the Curaçao International Dive Festival, where you will discover authentic tastes combined with a colorful history and diverse cultural heritage are the perfect mix to make your mouth water. Especially after a mind blowing day of scuba diving.

CLICK HERE for the list of island events and festivals.

Shete Boka National Park in Curaçao
Shete Boka National Park

Why Dive in Curaçao?

This is the most common FAQ that we always get asked! So, unlike it’s Dutch Caribbean island neighbors of Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao is home to over 70 world class boat diving and shore diving sites along its southern coastline. Due to the natural shielding created by the unique topography of the island, Curacao has a plentiful amount of diving opportunities that includes amazing fringing coral reefs, walls and and a large variety of wreck diving.

Like Bonaire, Curacao has more than 38 dive sites that are easily accessible from shore plus most of the dive resort resorts have gorgeous house reefs to explore.

What are the Best Dive Resorts?

At the heart Dive Travel Curaçao is a passionate commitment to provide you exceptional value, high quality and personalized service at the best Dive Resorts and Apartments in Curacao!

We have partnered with LionsDive Beach Resort, Sunscape Curacao Resort, Dreams Curacao Resort, and All West Apartments and Diving – the Best Dive Resorts, Hotels and Apartments to provide you high quality Caribbean scuba diving vacation packages.

Each of these wonderful specialized dive accommodation choices not only offer phenomenal boat diving opportunities but they also have their own pristine house reefs for shore diving. Learn more about these individual Dive Resorts and their diving vacation packages by visiting Dive Travel Curaçao.

What are the Best Dive Shops?

The Best Dive Shops in Curaçao are also retail scuba stores that are owned and operated by passionate divers who have dedicated their lives to creating responsible businesses.

These Dive Shops are truly the beating heart of our diving community! We encourage you to shop at these Tourist Board approved scuba diving centers that retail high quality diving and snorkeling gear. By doing so, you will ensure that you will always have the best service, expert training, fantastic dive travel opportunities, premium rental equipment and the advice you want and need as diver when on vacation in Curaçao.

Ocean Encounters Diving Curacao | Dive Travel Curacao
Ocean Encounters is the premier PADI and SSI dive facility in Curaçao located at LionsDive Beach Resort and Sunscape Curacao Beach Resort

How many dive sites are there?

There are currently over 70 world class dive sites listed in Curaçao, of which 38 are shore dives, 33 are Reef, 17 are Wall, 11 are Drift and 10 are wreck dives. Find the perfect dive site in Curaçao for you by using the Curacao Dive Site Guide and Interactive map below. Each dive site has its own page complete with video’s, dive site recommendations and many more details.

CLICK HERE for the Curaçao Diving Guide and Interactive Map.

What are the 10 Best Dive Sites?

The Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao is best known for its colorful colonial waterfront in Willemstad. But, too few know about the rainbow of vibrant coral and marine life under its waters. That is why Dive Curacao developed this useful Curacao Diving Guide and Interactive map that allows you to easily plan your next Curacao diving adventure!

CLICK HERE for the Top 10 Dive Sites.

What is the average water temperature?

The water has an average temperature of 27°C (81°F), which makes it ideal to cool off without getting too chilly! However, we do recommend wetsuits (short or long) to increase your comfort. This recommendation is based on experience in order to protect against the elements over the course of multiple dives.

For shore diving and snorkeling, booties are also highly recommended.

Where can you shore dive in Curaçao?

Curacao is laid out in a way that makes the southern side of the island almost perfect for shore diving. Thanks to the geographic location, the winds in the area come from the Northeast, meaning that almost the entire southern shoreline is protected from heavy sea winds. Learn more why Curacao is a Caribbean shore diving haven!

CLICK HERE for the Curaçao Shore Diving Guide.

Curaçao Shore Diving Guide
Curaçao is a unique shore diving haven for divers looking to take the advantage of a more leisurely schedule

How does Curaçao compare to Bonaire for diving?

The honest answer is, because we have been diving on both islands for years now, neither! Whether it is Bonaire or Curaçao, these Dutch Caribbean islands offer you something completely different and equally unique. Another way to put it is, I would recommend you dive both! I know, this is a different answer maybe then you expected but we do appreciate both islands very much. In fact, why not consider making a 10-14 day dive vacation package?

Contact us today to discover all the possibilities.

What island is better for diving?

“Comparisons are always made between Curaçao and Bonaire about which is better for diving. Well the truth is, arguably, Curaçao has the same quality of diving as Bonaire. Both have world class diving but there are always good dive sites and bad – but that is largely debatable based on ones own perspective and preferences. What we can say for sure is that the logistical part of Curaçao is different than Bonaire, but Curaçao makes up for that with a lot more things to offer. All around, if you are looking for a complete all around Caribbean diving vacation then Curaçao is the Dutch Caribbean island you want to visit. Unlike Bonaire, Curaçao is not simply an eat, sleep, dive, repeat destination.”

Bryan Horne, Dive Travel Curaçao

How can you help protect the coral reefs?

The Dutch Caribbean islands have an opportunity to become a leader in ocean conservation by protecting and improving some of the best remaining coral reef communities left in the Caribbean for the benefit of its people of and the greater Caribbean community.

Sustainable resource management will require trade-offs that balance short-term and long-term gains that benefit not only the ecosystems, but also the local communities and economies. Cooperative and efficient compromises between ocean stakeholders, the Dutch Caribbean Diving Industry, and the Dutch Caribbean island Governments will be necessary.

Ultimately, if everyone works together to protect what we love it will lead to greater efficiencies in recovery and achieve long term sustainability.

Can you dive for a Purpose while on vacation?

Are you wanting to make a difference and truly “Dive for a Purpose”? Whether you are a resident or a visiting scuba diver, we invite you to immerse yourself and to create a lasting impression for future generations by “Diving for a Purpose” with Reef Renewal Curaçao and/or Reef Renewal Bonaire!

The Dutch Caribbean Reef Renewal program is supported by our community, sponsors, volunteers and sustainable tourism stakeholders. The main objectives of this program are the restoration of our shallow water reef system, educating the community and protecting and preserving the natural ecosystems.

To further underline this commitment, 1% of all Diving Packages and/or Trips is donated to Reef Renewal Curaçao and/or Reef Renewal Bonaire when booking directly with Dive Travel Curaçao.

Book your Curaçao Dive Vacation with Dive Travel Curaçao

What is the situation with Lionfish?

The Lionfish, (Pterois volitans and P. miles) is an invasive species that is found in the surrounding waters of Curacao since 2009, which is almost 25 years after they were introduced off the coast of South Florida in 1985.

Since 2009, the invasive Lionfish has created a huge number of negative impacts not only here in Curaçao but also across the greater Caribbean. However, even with these negative issues, several Curaçao Dive Industry stakeholders created one large positive. They lead the way in creating a sustainable industry today!

Today, there are many organized groups and dive schools that provide lessons on how to safely search for and catch Lionfish without disturbing or harming the surrounding reef. Certain dive schools also frequently teach you how to carefully remove the spines and prepare it, making it the perfect meal for any fish lover.

Visit Lionfish Curaçao to learn more!

Is diving insurance a choice or a must?

If you are interested in having “peace of mind” and to know you are covered “just in case” during your Curacao diving vacation.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the short term dive insurance plans available from the Divers Alert Network (DAN).

Where is the Decompression Chamber in Curaçao?

The Decompression Chamber is located at the Curaçao Medical Center.

It is a HAUX-STARMED 2200 / 5.5 / XL type built by the German manufacturer HAUX-Life Support, GmbH with additional 2 places in the pre-chamber. It is possible to treat a patient on the bed in the chamber.

The maximum operating pressure of the chamber is 5 bar (6.5 ATA). Standard features include built-in fully automatic fire extinguishers, patient audio / video monitoring, air conditioning, computer / manual exposure control,% saturation O2%, chamber atmosphere O2% aspiration. A storage chamber tunnel is part of the chamber. The chamber is filled with air (pressurized) (not 100% oxygen as in 1-chamber chambers). 100% of medical oxygen is inhaled by patients through closed masks.

Location of Curaçao Medical Center

In Case of Suspected Cases of Decompression Sickness or Illness

SEE COMMON SYMPTOMS BELOW – Contact a Doctor immediately. Report the incident to the Divers Alert Network for additional advice and assistance especially if you have DAN Diving Insurance.

Ambulance Service – Dial 912 (free of charge)

In the event of a life-threatening situation, we request that you contact 910 immediately.

What is Decompression Illness?

Decompression illness, or DCI, is associated with a reduction in the ambient pressure surrounding the body. DCI encompasses two diseases, decompression sickness (DCS) and arterial gas embolism (AGE). DCS results from bubbles in body tissues causing local damage. AGE occurs when bubbles enter arterial circulation, traveling through the arteries and potentially causing tissue damage by blocking blood flow at the small vessel level.

What is the difference between Decompression Illness and Decompression Sickness?

Decompression illness, or DCI, is associated with a reduction in the ambient pressure surrounding the body. DCI encompasses two diseases, decompression sickness (DCS) and arterial gas embolism (AGE). DCS results from bubbles in body tissues causing local damage.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Skin itch
  • Pain in joints or arm, leg or torso muscles
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Numbness, tingling and/or paralysis
  • Shortness of breath
  • A blotchy rash
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Confusion, personality changes or bizarre behavior
  • Amnesia
  • Tremors
  • Staggering
  • Coughing up bloody, frothy sputum
  • Unconsciousness or collapse

Note: Signs and symptoms usually appear within 15 minutes or up to 12 hours after surfacing. In severe cases, symptoms may appear before surfacing or immediately afterward. Delayed onset of symptoms is rare but can happen, especially if air travel follows diving. In many cases, these symptoms are ascribed to another cause such as overexertion, heavy lifting or even a tight wetsuit. Sometimes these symptoms remain mild and resolve by themselves, but they may increase in severity until it is obvious that something is wrong and help is needed.

What causes arterial gas embolism?

Surfacing too quickly or holding your breath while you swim to the surface can cause the air in your lungs to expand. This may rupture lung tissue (pulmonary barotrauma), which can lead to gas bubbles being released into the arterial circulation (arterial gas embolism).

  • Dizziness
  • Visual blurring
  • Areas of decreased sensation
  • Chest pain
  • Disorientation
  • Bloody froth from mouth or nose
  • Paralysis or weakness
  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness
  • Cessation of breathing
  • Death

Emergency Contact for Divers Alert Network (DAN)

DAN’s medical services are available to divers, dive professionals and health care providers. They offer continuing medical education, an emergency hotline, medical information, physician consultations, educational programs and a worldwide referral network of doctors who treat and evaluate divers.

The DAN Emergency Hotline is staffed by a team of doctors, nurses, paramedics and emergency medical technicians who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide information, coordinate care and facilitate evacuations.

DAN Americas


DAN Europe

All emergency contact details are found here, on your membership card, and on the DAN Europe App.

DAN Dive Medical Insurance | Dive Travel Curacao